City saves $2,400 in 1 month, recycling up 30 percent

Filed in Waste News by on August 4, 2010 4 Comments
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Bloomington Shakespeare festival

Bloomington Shakespeare festival

Last night I was interviewed by two lovely guys- John Shegerian and Mike Brady from “Green is Good FM“.

One of the questions was about the cost of a zero waste lifestyle. John, like most of his listeners, figured it was an expensive lifestyle choice. But as I’ve talked about before, a zero waste lifestyle can be frugal too.

Over in Bloomington, in the heart of Illinois, the city is celebrating the success of their recycling programme. And they are reaping monetary rewards too.

BLOOMINGTON -The city may have saved about $2,400 last month in landfill fees because of its switch to single-stream recycling.

Public Works Director Jim Karch said in the first full month of the program changes, recycling increased by 30 percent. Karch said he was hoping the switch would create a 20 percent increase in the city’s recycling program.

“We are hoping more people will continue to recycle and get involved,” Karch said. “It’s possible there will be a leveling off and we maintain that 20 percent level but this is encouraging. We may be able to keep those numbers higher than expected.”

In July 2009 the city recycled about 200 tons of paper and containers through its curbside program. But last month that amount was closer to 260 tons. The city pays about $40 a ton to dump its garbage at the local landfill.

Curbside recycling is collected once every two weeks by the city’s crews. Earlier this summer, the city switched recycling providers so Bloomington residents no longer have to sort paper from plastic and glass containers.
Ecology Action Center Executive Director Michael Brown called the results incredible.

“The city and Jim Karch really need to be applauded for their efforts,” Brown said. “Anything we can do to reduce municipal solid waste from going to the landfill is especially important.”

The efforts by the city bring McLean County closer to meeting its goal of recycling 40 percent of the county’s waste, said Brown, also the county’s solid waste program director. Currently, the county recycles about 36 to 37 percent of its waste.

“We are inching closer and closer to our goal and this helps us a lot,” Brown said.

Karch said the blue recycling bins are no longer needed to participate. Bloomington residents who want to recycle only need a 33-gallon container that is separate from their other garbage containers. It needs to be labeled down the side that it contains recycled material.

The city prefers the containers be square or rectangular and have a lid.

A list of the materials that can be recycled through the city’s program is available at
Curbside and single-stream recycling is not offered for residents in Normal. The town offers drop-off containers in designated locations.

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (4)

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  1. It’s encouraging to see so many towns tweaking their recycling programs and getting positive results like this.

  2. as soon as people see some financial promise in any endeavor, the idea takes over.
    many are saving aluminum cans here now. no one has opened a plastics recycling plant, but judging from the paper saving and cardboard bins behind stores, we may soon be graced by some form of re-using process in the rural areas.
    youth are being energized toward zero waste… that may be the way..

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @recycling bins: Hi 🙂 Welcome to the site; yes it’s always great to share the positive news on recycling!

    @nadine sellers: Yep, money is a great motivator. It would be fabulous if you got a reuse facility in your nearby area. I agree that we need to capture the hearts and imaginations of the next generation to carry the torch…

  4. graceonline says:

    That’s exciting news! You are so right. The more we can prove reducing, reusing and recycling saves money, the more people will jump on the bandwagon. Not only do we need to show how they can save, but we need to show how their lifestyles improve. I’d love to hear how yours is better since you embarked on this program. Or have you already written about it? Since I’m fairly new to your blog, I probably missed a post or two about that.

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